Saturday, July 15, 2006

the Middle East is not a dream someone else is having

Sometimes I think I shouldn't turn the television on because I will just get angry. Israel is escalating her gangster war on her neighbors, apparently because being kidnapped by Hamas is a little like the Comanches in an unreconstructed western from the bad old days "having their way with our white women," the proverbial fate worse than death. One kidnapped and one or two Israeli soldiers killed is not nothing. But how does it justify terrorizing civilians and killing 10 or 20 or fifty or more? A few minutes ago Daryn Kagan on CNN was talking to A Mr Chamoun of Corpus Christi Texas, whose wife Caroline is presently stranded in Beirut with their kids. At one point Chamoun said he was pretty sure they were ok because they were staying in a safe neighborhood. I know what he meant by that, because Beirut is fairly segregated, or at least it was when I was growing up. He means they're staying in a Christian neighborhood, and apparently Israel isn't shelling the nicer parts of town.

(I grew up in Beirut, from 1969-74. The building where we stayed when I was k-2nd grade had some Europeans and Americans living there, so I'm guessing we were in a predominantly Christian neighborhood. Later when my grandmother got sick we moved to a less fancy place, the Hotel Caracas, for my 3rd and 4th grade years. It wasn't actually a hotel, it was just called that, and apart from one Asian family I think most of the people who lived there were Muslims. I don't think the two buildings were even that far from each other.)

Chamoun is a Christian Lebanese name, as in Danny and Camille Shamoun. At one point Kagan said to Chamoun "I wonder if it's worse for you over here, worrying about them and not knowing what's happening." Afterwards Kagan thanked Mr Chamoun and switched to a segment of playing audio clips of people who called in to answer the posed question "should the US intervene." Every caller but one whose clip was played said no, that we should stay out of Israel's business. Israel's business. The one person who said yes identified herself as an Arab-American and had a pronounced accent.

"I wonder if it's worse for you over here, worrying about them and not knowing what's happening."